Women's field hockey is on the rise. Following a slow 2-3 season start, the Eagles turned the tables this past weekend. On Friday, the Eagles took down No. 3 ranked UNC with a score of 2-1. To further the high, BC then trumped local rival Northeastern 8-1 on Sunday to improve their record to 4-3.
When BC opened ACC play at home by edging UNC, it marked their first win against the Tar Heels since 2008 and ended UNC’s eight-game winning streak. After trailing the defending ACC champs 1-0 early in the first half, the Eagles tied it before the break with freshman Brigid Wood’s first collegiate goal. In the second half, junior Chelcie Mendonca found the UNC goal in the 56th minute and BC’s backline made it count by holding the Tar Heels scoreless in the second frame.
The Eagles’ defensive effort extended up until the final play of the game, when a penalty corner for UNC was called as the clock expired, giving the Tar Heels the chance to break even. BC sticks repelled UNC’s final scoring chance, however, and upset the national runner-ups.
BC head coach Kelly Doton credited Friday’s win to the stout defense, as redshirt junior goalie Audra Hampsch and her backfield thwarted a UNC offense that outshot the Eagles 12-4 in the second half, with Hampsch recording four saves in the final frame.
In Sunday’s matchup across town against Northeastern, the contest was tight at halftime with the Eagles ahead just 2-1. But BC erupted in the second half, scoring six straight goals and shutting out Northeastern the rest of the way. Eryn Mccoy factored into five of the Eagle’s eight goals, finding the net three times and dishing out two assists. BC has won its last two meetings against the Huskies by a combined score of 14-2.
Fresh off of a three-game winning streak, the Eagles moved up from No. 18 and are now tied with BU at No. 9 in the NCAA rankings.
This Friday, the Eagles will host another major ACC matchup against 14th ranked Virginia and then host in-state rival UMass on Sunday.
Senior Brittany Sheenan leads the Eags in overall points with eight goals and two assists; senior midfielder Eryn McCoy is behind her with three goals and three assists. Her twin sister, preseason All-American, Emily, follows suit just behind her with two goals and one assist on the season thus far.
As a team, BC is outscoring opponents 18-12, but their biggest deficit comes from their corners allowed per period, where opponents are taking twice as many as the Eagles at 23-42. Doton made clear in a press conference Monday that her team will need to improve upon their corners allowed in order to advance far this season.
With seven ACC teams having pre-season rankings in the nation’s top 12, there is no fall-off in the Eagles’ remaining slate.“Our schedule has no weaknesses, and our girls wouldn’t want it any other way,” Doton stated in a press conference Monday morning.
Facing a continuing menu of top teams should ready the Eagles for a successful postseason run. The 2016 team is pushing for a deeper playoff run than the round of 16 where they fell to Connecticut last season. If they continue their sturdy defensive efforts and enhance their shots-on-goal average, this could be a special season for the talented squad.
Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.